606 contributor has a new piece in the December issue of The Mennonite, which has invited articles on the theme “The Unexpected.” We share excerpts here but encourage you to read the entire piece at The Mennonite and, while you’re at it, subscribe in order to support that magazine’s mission.
I still remember the phone call I got from my wife while I was at work. “Come home now…. Something’s not right. I can’t feel the baby moving.”
Though we tried to convince ourselves that everything would be just fine on that hurried drive to the hospital, that day in August of 2012 we experienced the pain of a stillborn child. This journey through grief and loss showed us many different hidden elements we were unaware of until walking through this experience.
Theologically, we struggled with comments born out of a faith that would see a puppet master-like God as manipulating our immediate pain for some future goal, or perhaps that our journey was part of a bigger test of our capacity for handling difficult spaces. Though we recognized these comments were born out of a desire to see us move beyond our immediate pain, we also wanted people to provide us with permission to dwell in our grief instead of providing us with ways to move through it quickly.
We also discovered something we had assumed for most of our lives but never tested out. We found that our community had far more capacity for caring for those who are grieving than we ever imagined.
Read Ben’s fuller story as he reflects on the experience of loss and grief.